U.S. Senator Al Franken (D) is saying farewell to Washington less than one month after his first accuser, Leeann Tweeden, said Franken groped and kissed her without her consent.
"I know there's been a very different picture painted of me over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am," said Sen. Franken while announcing his resignation on the Senate floor Thursday morning.
Franken was first elected to the Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2014. But after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct it appears his political career is in limbo.
"If he's really someone who's grabbing women intentionally, then yeah he should go, but not be drummed out before [he] actually gets a chance to have any sort of process," said Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL) of Rochester.
Rep. Liebling has supported Franken ever since Leeann Tweeden spoke out nearly one month ago. In fact, Liebling signed a letter of support for him that came out nearly two weeks ago.
Besides representing Rochester at the state capitol in St. Paul, Rep. Liebling is also a criminal defense attorney. She did not want Franken to resign. Instead, she believes an ethics committee should have investigated the allegations.
"I don't think it helps women in the long run if everybody gets the idea that as soon as something is said that that means the guy did it and he's gone, he loses his job. I don't think that's right."
She said women need to be empowered to come forward if they've been a victim of sexual harassment, but that there needs to be a process in place. Liebling admits that there are misunderstandings: one person says something didn't happen while the person who allegedly did it says otherwise. If Sen. Franken really did the things he's accused of doing, she believes he should be gone. However, some of the allegations were anonymous, which doesn't sit well with her.
"I know many women don't come forward. On the other side, we don't want people to lose their reputations just from allegations that nobody ever examines closely."
Meanwhile, KROC hosts Andy Brownell and Tom Ostrom discussed Franken's resignation during their morning show. They said most of the people who called in were happy the senator chose to resign.
"I think the Democrats want to clear this off the deck. Then they'll put pressure on Roy Moore in Alabama if he gets elected, and Trump, for what they think are his sins of the past," said Ostromm.
Now that Franken's out the next question is who will be his successor?
Ostrom believes Gov. Dayton will name a woman for the "symbolism and significance of this time." Liebling doesn't think it has to be a woman, just someone who's going to work hard for Minnesotans.
The decision to replace Sen. Franken lies with Gov. Dayton. In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Dayton said he has not yet decided on an appointment. He will announce his decision in the coming days.
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (DFL) is the obvious front-runner. But if Dayton appoints her to fill Franken's seat, that would mean the President of the Minnesota Senate would take over as Lieutenant Governor. That person is currently a female Republican, and the GOP only has a one seat majority in the Senate.